Well, it happened. Jackson came home with an assignment on his first day of preschool. The directions were attached to a large piece of white construction paper. I was supposed to help Jackson make a banner using our family name. We could trace our handprints, glue things on it, use pictures, or do whatever we wanted to tell our family's story. Having just been on a great vacation to Wyoming that produced tons of fun pictures, I thought we should put them to good use. I've always loved making collages, so this would be fun.
Then the questions started bombarding my mind. Does this need to look like a child did it, or do they really want me to do it? The directions said it would go on the wall, so maybe it's supposed to be part of the room decor and it needs to look nice.
Being a first-time preschool parent, I'd never been faced with this dilemma before. BigMama's stories about Caroline's Fiesta float came to mind. If I err, do I want to err on the side of not good enough or too good? My perfectionist tendencies overtook my willingness to submit myself to my three-year-old's creative genius and it came out like this.
I'm so ashamed. I did let him pick out the pictures, though.
Curtis is the one who takes Jackson to school, so I called him just minutes after I knew he would have dropped him off. "Did you see the other posters?" I begged him to tell me they all looked like ours. He'd only glimpsed a corner of one and couldn't tell. "The teacher said it looked nice."
Nice. Is that good or bad?
As I entered the wing of classrooms to pick him up yesterday afternoon, I was faced with the humiliation of my life. There on the wall of the hallway - not inside the classroom as I had thought - the children's artwork was proudly displayed. It took .5 seconds for me to realize that one of these things is not like the others. Every other poster had handprints. Every other poster had evidence of a three-year-old's scribbling. Every other poster was right and ours was wrong! Wrong in big, bold letters, with brightly colored polkadot scrap paper and obnoxious Disney pictures. Wrong with our named spelled out for everyone to see! Wrong with the faces of our family, so that the horrible mother who is too OCD to do crafts with her son can be easily identified! Oh the horror!
Seriously, I've never been more embarrassed. All I could say to the teachers was a mild thank you as they returned my boy to me. I didn't dare make eye contact in case I was about to get in big trouble and have to go to the principal's office. We scurried away as fast as humanly possible with a baby on my right hip and a leaping, bounding child holding my left hand.
I have no idea how long those posters are going to greet every single person who passes through the hallway, but I am praying to our merciful Lord that He will see that I've learned my lesson and let them come down soon. I don't know how long I can bear to face my public shame!
Please, someone, comfort me in my time of grief and tell me I'm not alone. Did you do something really dumb when your kid was in school?
I called my mom as soon as I got in the car. She was both embarrassed for me and pleased to have been given such a great laugh at my expense. I had just been to my first Motherwise meeting that morning and she said, "Honey, one day when you are older and leading something like Motherwise, that's the story you're going to share." She's probably right. But if anyone would like to learn my lesson now, then be my guest.